The most significant transport aircraft ever made

Developed in the United States, the Douglas DC3 is a fixed-wing propeller - driven aircraft whose speed and range revolutionised air transport in the 1930s and 1940s. DC3s played a key role during World War 2 and have had a lasting impact on the airline industry. A total of 16,079 DC3s were produced, with more than 400 still in commercial service as recently as 1998.

Around the world and back – the story of our DC3

This particular aircraft was manufactured in Oklahoma City and delivered to the United States Army Air Force on October 30, 1944. During World War 2 it served with various units and squadrons in continental America before being transferred to Japan and the Philippines for service in the Korean War.

Following decommissioning in April 1959, it was used by the Philippines Airlines on their first international service from Manila to Hong Kong. It was then sold to PATAIR in New Guinea before appearing on the Australian register in 1970, flying for Bush Pilot Airlines and Queensland Airlines. In 1983 it was retired to the Mackay Air Museum, then flew as “Gooney Bird Tours” in Northern Queensland before finally being retired as a static exhibit.

A New Life

In 1987, the dust was shaken off its wings when it was purchased by a New Zealand Warbird group who brought it to New Zealand and performed an extensive rebuild.

For many years it was painted in the colours used by the Royal Air Force during World War 2 – olive green on the upper surfaces and eggshell blue below. In 2007, it was repainted to represent the aircraft “NZ3546” from No.42 Squadron of the Royal New Zealand Air Force. NZ3546 was one of the last two DC3s in the RNZAF service. Sold by tender, NZ3546 is now believed to be based at Wonderboon, South Africa and is reported to be in the process of a body and engine overhaul.